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2nd Fire In 2 Months Controlled At Redwood City Recycling Plant

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A fire burns at the Sims recycling plant in Redwood City on December 17, 2013. (CBS)

A fire burns at the Sims recycling plant in Redwood City on December 17, 2013. (CBS)

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REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF)— A two-alarm fire at a metal recycling plant in Redwood City Tuesday morning has been controlled, although the smell of smoke and burning plastic was reported as far south as Mountain View, a fire marshal said.

The blaze at Sims Metal Management—the second fire in as many months to burn at the facility at 699 Seaport Blvd.—started following the sound of a small explosion reported by plant workers at about 12:50 a.m., Redwood City Fire Marshal Jim Palisi said.

The fire started in a stockpile of “light iron” recyclables, such as discarded appliances, Palisi said.

Embers ignited a second smaller spot fire that was quickly extinguished, he said.

The primary blaze, which sent a large plume of smoke into the air, burned for more than eight hours before being controlled as of about 9:45 a.m., Palisi said.

No injuries were reported, he said.

Officials were advising any residents in the area who smell smoke to stay indoors with their windows closed, though the advisory was only issued as a precaution, Palisi said.

“The shelter-in-place was issued as an advisory, not a warning,” he said.

Seaport Boulevard reopened at about 8 a.m. after being closed for more than seven hours, although public access to the recycling facility remains closed.

Firefighters fought a similar blaze last month at this same plant. On Nov. 10, a fire at the same facility burned in a pile of heavy recyclables and took more than seven hours to control.

Sims Metal Management issued a statement Tuesday morning about the fire.

“In coordination with public officials, Sims will thoroughly investigate what could have caused this explosion and fire, including sources of the material in the stockpile. No cause has yet been ruled out,” the statement said.

The company said the timing of the two fires a month apart “raises concerns” and said new policies were implemented after last month’s blaze, including reducing stockpile sizes and separating light iron from auto bodies.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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